Learning From Frank Ocean

I assume most of you have heard of Frank Ocean by now, either from his work with Jay-Z & Kanye West, his album channel ORANGE, which was released today on iTunes, his work with Odd Future, or from his work writing for artists like Beyonce and Justin Bieber.

If none of those come to mind, you must have heard about his now-famous recent Tumblr letter, originally scheduled for his album liner notes, announcing that he was bisexual, by telling the story of how he fell in love with a man four summers ago.

Since this letter was published, countless celebrities have shown support by spreading awareness about this news, and also about his amazing music. Endless articles were written, and it has sparked consistent dialogue about the courage it took to be one of the few mainstream artists in the hip hop/soul/R&B genre today who are openly bisexual.

But beyond this dialogue, and anyone’s personal opinions, there is much to be noted here about how human connection will make an Artist stand out, and how critical it is to gradually develop your own voice.

Frank’s website is simply his personal Tumblr blog, where the self-described ‘story teller’ jots down random thoughts or poems. This Tumblr is linked to his Facebook page, turning Facebook into simply another platform to get to know him. It’s obvious that Frank has been developing his own voice for quite some time now.

It is very important to realize that when he was discovered by the general public, his chances of turning that exposure into a long career would have been MUCH lower had he not been quietly developing his own voice when nobody was watching. He now has a body of both musical and poetic work that speak much louder for him than anything else could.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has now checked out his blog, Liked his Facebook page, watched great YouTube interviews, and discovered new music that I love, all simply because I feel like I’m getting to know a new person, and not just a new artist.

“You can do a lot by yourself. Not just songs, but taking control of your whole movement.” – Frank Ocean

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